"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Further Reflection on Creation Museum

Now that I've had a few more days to reflect on the Creation Museum, there are some things I would like to add to my earlier account. Although I was working some of these thoughts out prior to reading their reflections, I am indebted to my classmates Michael and Derek, as well as conversations with my husband for this reflection.

First off, for the wider blog readership, I should make it clear that the creationism of the Creation Museum is of a particular kind, namely, a young earth, six day (24 hour period) creation. By browsing the bookstore, my husband determined that there's no room for the Discovery Institute's Intelligent Design Movement...only one of the many, many books represented that position. And - get this - the book was by a Catholic, namely Michael Behe. But the people who run the museum probably don't want to know that.

Above is a larger picture of the poster I included in my last blog post. You can see here that the world is a little over 6,000 years old. The time periods are arranged as the 7 C's: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross and Consumation.

The opening movie tried to make it clear that creationists don't hate science: "God loves science," is what one of the angels said. The problem is when people are told they are stupid for believing the Bible. This seems to indicate a certain degree of compatibility between faith and reason. And yet, the displays in the holding area had signs juxtaposing "God's Word" with "Human Reason." I should have taken a picture of one of these signs because I can't remember the exact words. One, I know, related to fossils, and enlisted a dichotomous approach to thinking about fossils- either a Biblical understanding OR a rational approach. Michael suggested that these kinds of dichotomies ran throughout the museum. Such dichotomies rarely sit well with me.

Now, a few more comments about that "Last Adam" movie. The way the film was done biblical characters spoke about their experiences of the crucifixion. The crucifixion was portrayed in a Gibsonesque manner, with centurions nailing the hands to the cross and blood everywhere. (Yes, I was happy that Maia was playing on the floor for that scene.) Later, the centurion ("Truly this man was the Son of God") spoke to us about his experience. He was still in Roman centurion gear... maybe just so we could identify him... but I thought - how odd - realizing the man you were crucifying was the Son of God didn't prevent your continuing as a Roman soldier? This centurion was the one who informed us that "It is finished" means "Paid in full." The film was a bit of gospel harmony, but Jesus' last words that it included and excluded were telling. There was no "This day you will be with me in paradise," no "Into your hands I commend my spirit," and no "Woman behold your son, son behold your mother."

Somewhat surprisingly, Mary (that is, Mary the mother of Jesus) was included in the film. The segment on her started off by her recollections of seeing the Passover lamb sacrificed each year as a child. My husband thought this was funny as, historically, all the lambs were sacrificed in the Temple with representation from the male head of the household. As she gently stroked a fuzzy lamb, Mary told us how her dad always forced her to watch the lamb being killed. Then she recalled her son's death (perhaps a little too cheerfully for my taste), and she clutched at the lamb, noting how great it was that with the once-for-all sacrifice, these poor little lambs don't have to be killed. Hmm... with my (albeit traditional Catholic) thoughts on Our Lady of Solitude, this version of Mary was slightly alarming.

When Maia and I were waiting in line to buy some pita chips, I heard two men discussing how much they loved the part about Mary. They were saying how great it was that Mary actually made the connection that her Son was the lamb of God... and how appreciative she was that they no longer had to do this brutal Passover practice. Meanwhile, I was trying to explain to a very hungry Maia why we had to pay for the chips before eating them. I told her, "Look, it's a result of the fall. If it weren't for that sin, all our food would be given to us and people would share freely. Now we have to pay." Then I shut up because I thought the cashier might think I was criticizing the commercial enterprise that is the Creation Museum. Let's be honest - it's a wonderful example of the great American combination (or even confusion) of evangelization and money-making. It's both a mission and a business.As to the Luther inclusion, I thought maybe including this poster above would help. But actually, I never got to read it then, and it's not so clear in the picture. It's a timeline (right to left) juxtaposing "Scripture Alone," "Scripture Questioned," and "Scripture Abandoned" with "Human Reason" (and the key figures who have undermined Scripture). "Scripture Alone" is an interesting starting point for this declension narrative... but I won't discourse on that. I just wanted to give some further context for why Luther and the Bible printing press was included. For an account of the ambiguity of the proliferation of the Bible in America, see Paul Gutjahr's An American Bible.

I wish my reflections could be more careful and critical, but unfortunately the presence of a certain toddler detracted from my picking up on the various details. I was too busy pointing out the dinosaurs and trying not to lose her in the mass of people. If it weren't for the enormous crowd and my intense dislike of waiting in lines (especially when accompanied by a certain toddler), I'd consider going again (toddler-less) so I could get a better sense of what's going on there.

1 comment:

derekhatch said...

I joked several times on Saturday that between Cross and Consummation was another "C" - (Consumption).

Joking aside though, this "C" brings to mind the fact that, despite the fact that the Creation Museum argued for God's 6 24-hour day creation of all that is, it mentioned nothing of care or stewardship for that creation. Stir in a bit of "humans are called to take dominion over the earth" and you (could possibly) get rampant plundering of the environment (and perhaps even all in the name of the Creator).